Why Sign Language?

“Our job is to make learning interesting.  We each learn differently, and catering to the different ages and developmental stages of the children can be a challenge.  With ASL you naturally reach children with varied learning styles.”

What’s your goal for music in Primary?

You’ve probably noticed that we advocate for teaching Primary songs with ASL (American Sign Language).  And maybe you’ve also wondered why.

My goal is to teach important gospel principles, have fun, and help children learn to feel and recognize the Spirit.  When I’ve used ASL to teach Primary songs I have been impressed at the level of participation and excitement. I have noticed that even the children who seemed uninterested are suddenly engaged.  ASL is easy enough for the youngest Sunbeams and yet challenging enough to pique the interest of those too-cool-for-singing 10 and 11 year olds!

Using ASL helps keep those fidgety hands busy making it possible to stay more focused (by keeping them too busy to get off-task).  When children are focused they have a greater potential to learn.  The mere act of hearing simple gospel truths gives the children an opportunity to feel the Spirit testify of its truthfulness.  And hearing (and seeing) these teachings through music makes it more memorable.

Using ASL enhances a child’s vocabulary; teaching gospel principles certainly requires the need to learn new vocabulary.  Children feel good about themselves when they gain a new skill.

When children are focused, happy, and having fun they are learning without even realizing it!  New knowledge is exciting and rewarding for children; they are so eager to learn.  Our job is to make learning interesting.  We each learn differently and catering to the different ages and developmental stages of the children can be a challenge.  With ASL you naturally reach children with varied learning styles.

With ASL, children are learning visually, verbally and kinesthetically all at the same time!  This will increase memory retention–and of course, when we go to all the work of teaching something we hope it will be remembered.

Using ASL is a great way to include all children in all aspects of Primary.  You may or may not have children with special needs in your Primary; the beauty of ASL is that it’s beneficial for all children!

Below find a few online articles about the benefits of ASL for all children.  Also, check our Links & Lessons page for a wonderful ASL Browser that you can search alphabetically to learn basic signs to use.  And don’t forget about our Music Videos page which contains video of many Primary songs with basic ASL signs to accompany (including this year’s new song: “As a Child of God”).

“You may or may not have children with special needs in your Primary; the beauty of ASL is that it’s beneficial for all children!”

~Michelle

Hearing Students, Sign Language, and Music: A Valuable Combination

The Benefits of Sign Language for ALL Children

The Benefits of Teaching Sign Language to a Verbal Child

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6 Comments

Filed under Music, Special Needs

6 responses to “Why Sign Language?

  1. Pingback: Sign language in curriculum urged « Filipino Deaf from the Eyes of a Hearing Person

  2. Thank you for sharing your talents with us. One of the optional songs we’ve chosen for this year for our primary program is” I love to see the Temple”. I love the simplicity of the signs you’ve chosen, I think that it’s a more doable version than the one on lds.org. Do you have the second verse recorded and available?

    • Thank you! I agree with you that the sign language needs to be simple so it complements the music and lyrics instead of distracts. I don’t have the second verse recorded right now, but I’m, glad you asked! I will see if I can get that recorded and posted right away! Check back in the coming weeks! ~Michelle

  3. Pingback: The Power of Music and Sign Language in the home, community and Primary classes | Primary in Zion

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